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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Does Jesus Care?

“Does Jesus care when my heart is pained too deeply for mirth and song?” The words to this song ask a very relevant question in the lives of many people today. Does God really care when we are facing times of hardship and suffering? We cry out to Him to deliver us from the painful tunnel we are crawling through. We have no idea how to get out of this situation, and the heavens are like brass. God is silent. Does He know? Does He even care?

Yes, He does. However, we may be surprised at what He really cares about. Here is a poem:

God does not care about our circumstance, whatever it may be.
He cares for His creation, especially you and me.
Circumstance is just a tool He uses to make new
the way we understand His love. He works to change our view!
So when you feel you’re all alone without a hope or prayer,
when you’ve reached your darkest place
God’s already there.
Patiently He waits for us to praise Him in this night.
With great care He walks with us until we see the light.

The weapon of Circumstance is used by both sides in this war for humanity. The same circumstance elicits an incredibly different response by one party versus the other party. This is simply because of the differences in each party’s belief system. This alone should awaken us to the extreme importance of having the right beliefs and values. They literally affect everything we do, from the top to the bottom.

Our Enemy uses circumstance to destroy us because he hates God. His ultimate goal, in using circumstance as a weapon, is to force our attention away from TRUST and RELATIONSHIP to the OBSTACLE in front of us. The interesting part of this is that he doesn’t care whether this is a hardship or blessing. He simply wants to use it to destroy us, thus taking away part of God’s creation. He would love to “bless” us with wealth and prestige, if it meant our damnation. Many times we think only our hardship is his tool. Not so. Our times of abundance and content are often even more effective. Hardship will many times force us to God. Our Enemy would much rather lull us to sleep, taking our focus away from God.

Lucifer, once the Worship Leader of Heaven, lives enraged at our importance in God’s eyes. Even though he loves chaos and mayhem, he will still use the most effective method in damning our souls, because he hates God even more than chaos. When examined, the Church today is being lulled asleep . . . quietly . . . with great abundance and content. Many times, the chaos we see in our church is actually God trying to wake us up, to change us from that Comfortable congregation to a Changed church!

God uses our circumstance in an entirely different way. His ultimate goal, in using circumstance as a shaping tool, is to force our attention away from the OBSTACLE, whatever it may be, to TRUST and RELATIONSHIP! Interestingly enough, it doesn’t really matter to Him whether this circumstance is hardship or blessing. He simply wants to use it to draw us closer to Him, and to teach us to give Him glory at all times. This is the measurement of a “tiny Christ”, a Christian, giving glory to God at all times. Yes, many times God does use hardship to shape us. Pain is often the most effective way to learn something. However, we are mistaken to think this is all He uses. God blesses us enormously, but He does this only to enhance his Kingdom and increase our ministry opportunities. Our hardship, our abundance; both have a two-fold purpose: To build our FAITH, and to enhance the Kingdom. That’s it. Consider this passage from Luke 8:23-25a:

"But as they were sailing along He (Jesus) fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. And He said to them, "Whew! That was close! Did you see that last wave? We could have capsized out here! What is my Father thinking! It's a good thing I took matters in my own hands! We could have drowned! I have to get alone for a bit to talk with Him and see if this was an oversight on His part!"

Interested that I took such liberty with Jesus' response? If He had cared about the circumstance, He would have reacted like that in His humanity, scared out of his wits, focusing on the storm. However, being filled with the Spirit, He actually asked the freaked out disciples one question, with four powerful words that let us know exactly what He cared about. He said, "Where is your faith?" Another passage, in Mark, phrases the question as, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

The storm was just a tool, a test of their faith. Where is our faith? What are we concerned with? Is it the storm around us, or are we secure in the knowledge that this storm is under the control of an Almighty God?

Does Jesus care? Yes, He does! God cares about you and me. He cares that we become molded to His image. This is for our own ultimate good. What we need to learn is that God does everything for the ultimate good. Nothing is done for immediate gratification, especially when that gratification will eventually harm us. He uses our circumstance to shape us into warriors for the Kingdom. He cares that we learn how to fight against Spiritual wickedness. He knows that WE HAVE AN ENEMY WHO WANTS TO DESTROY US. He uses those attacks to make us stronger. However, circumstance is just that . . . circumstantial. All around us, we see the circumstantial evidence of a war for our very souls.

If our eyes could be opened, we would surely be surprised. Not so much by the hosts of Heaven, for we might expect them after reading and hearing Bible stories. That would certainly be awe-inspiring, for sure. No, we would be surprised at what we see when we look behind us on the path that we have been walking. Littered on this path, and around us where we stand, are misshapen lumps, some small, some large. At first, we wouldn’t recognize them for what they are, due to their condition. Then we would start to realize the features of past problems; a sickness here, a financial hardship over there, a failure at that juncture of our journey. These are our circumstances, ultimately used by our Father for our good. They are misshapen because God has taken what has been meant for evil and has formed them to mold us in the image of Christ.

Does Jesus care about us? Absolutely, in the truest sense of the word. Absolute. Unchanging. Ever-constant. Immovable. Total. Complete. Unconditional. Unlimited. Supreme. Fixed. Unmodified. Unadulterated. Pure. Perfect. Unquestionable. Utter. Conclusive. Resolved. Firm. Definite. Final. These are not words on a page. Christ DIED for all. This proves the point.

His love is our Solution, our Answer, our Resolution, our Truth, and is given freely to all who believe.

Does Jesus care about our circumstances? I think not. He can use anything to form us in His image. Even dirt (Genesis 2:7).

© Copyright Derek Hickman 2007